As we at AdapNation look to respond to the expectations of Instagram users and the #Instafit sub-culture, the question that I’ve been battling with is… TO GET SHREDDED or TO BULK?
Why I Work Out & Have Goals
I workout because it makes me happy, and there’s a great feeling of progress and anticipation when you can craft and adapt your body through precise work in the gym and kitchen. Plus, it brings such a strong reenforcement signal that with a plan and dedication, you can achieve your goals and aspirations. This has had a ripple effect throughout my life since finding my groove in the gym in 2016.
As publicly declared in my Body Goals within my introductory Body Progress Blog, the focus over the next one to two years is put on more lean mass whilst having a lean look. For me, a goal is only worthwhile if it’s something you want bad enough, and will fight for when the going gets tough or you get distracted. Otherwise, it’s a convenient thing to show others and yourself that you have a target, when you know deep inside it doesn’t really matter that much to you, or you don’t believe it’s achievable. I have a number of goals across all facets of my life, most of which are bold and require determination and belief, even when you don’t have clarity on the ‘how’.
Do My Goals Serve Me – Long AND Short Term?
The key is to identify when those goals no longer serve you, or if you have grown/adapted to the point that they are no longer meaningful. Honestly, my long-term body goals are still the same – nothing has changed. The problem is, it’s not a straight line from here to there, and I need to deal with some short-term downsides in the pursuit. Specifically, I’m talking about ‘bulking’ – the process of building up your body by eating more food than you burn over the course of a day or week. The downside is, you can’t ‘bulk’ and be shredded, something has to give.
I’ve always known this. There are tips and tricks to limit how much body fat you carry, and how to limit the amount of fat you add alongside the new muscle. I’m using them. But, up until recently, I’ve not worried about holding an extra few percent of body fat as I train for strength and size. It’s part of the gig, until you get to the size you want, as you can then train hard and just maintain lean mass whilst working your body fat percentage down.
Now with the public nature of AdapNation, and our goal to make a material difference to peoples lives in pursuit of their goals and optimal health, it’s important we are seen to be leading by example. Furthermore, people expect you to have an impressive physique, in order for people en masse to listen in and look to implement your advice. I’m in good shape, but absolutely not impressive. My goal, once achieved, will get me there, but that’s some time off. In the interim, where does that leave me?
Should I Just Show Raw Honesty? Will That Be Respected?
As I battle with this question, my gut says to keep on the path I am on. Unless I take steroids (which I won’t), I have to expect the tried and tested approach to get to my goals is to undulate through bulking and mini-cuts. Either I want that goal, or I am willing to exchange it for shorter term benefits of being lean (but smaller).
My hope, for our audience and myself, is that by walking the talk and showing the raw honesty of putting on body fat in the pursuit of extra muscle mass, that it will resonate and make my journey realistic and achievable. There’s no silver bullet – you need to manage the downsides as you strive for something better.
Of course, I intend to add mini-cuts into my annual plan. I’m talking about 2-4 week cuts every few months, to keep the body fat in check. Otherwise, an aggressive and long cut at the end will be painful, and will result in the inevitable loss of too much hard-earned muscle
The Week In Conclusion
I’m currently 186lbs. A little lower than expected, but the long hours at AdapNation combined with the pre photoshoot cut upset the apple cart a little. I’ve been good at keeping to my 3,500 calorie budget for most of the week, and the fullness in my muscles has retuned. I’ve been working hard in the gym, keeping to my new Feb-Mar #HyperWorkouts programme (check out in Steve’s Training Programme blog). This week is mostly about the higher rep Hypertrophy range.
Lastly, I completed a 24 hour fast, just to help give my digestion a break and for the health benefits. I throw this in every once in a while, and you end up feeling so much better for it.
NEXT WEEK – The second week of my eight week programme undulates to a more typical low-rep Strength modality, which I am looking forward to! I’ve got a brief international trip planned, so will need to work around and manage this.
Follow this blog as it unfolds. Comment if you have questions, ideas or motivation to offer, and please keep me honest to the above.